College Basketball: Texas Tech at Texas A&M - A&M Favored
The streaking sixth-ranked Aggies look to avenge their lone Big 12 loss when they host the fading Red Raiders on Tuesday.
Texas A&M (21-3, 9-1) has won five straight since a 70-68 loss at Texas Tech (15-10, 4-6) on Jan. 24, taking over sole possession of first place in the conference in the process. The Aggies have won 21 straight home games, including 16 this season.
While Texas A&M hasn't lost since meeting Texas Tech, the Red Raiders haven't won. They have dropped five straight to jeopardize their hopes of a possible NCAA tournament at-large berth.
The Aggies had plenty of trouble against coach Bob Knight's famed motion offense in the first meeting as they allowed the Red Raiders to shoot 48.7 percent from the field - the highest by a conference opponent. Texas Tech also got to the free-throw line 29 times, making 22.
Texas A&M leads the nation in opponents' field-goal percentage at 35.7 percent.
"We haven't seen a motion offense as well organized," Aggies coach Billy Gillispie said after the game. "I mean it's the master offense and the master does a great job of doing it. It's disappointing because we lost and it's disappointing because they got so many foul shots and they made them."
Since that strong outing, Texas Tech has struggled to shoot just 39.2 percent during its skid.
The Red Raiders' latest loss may have been their most frustrating as they fell 93-91 in double overtime at then-No. 17 Oklahoma State on Saturday. They blew an 11-point lead in regulation and a seven-point advantage with 90 seconds left in the first overtime.
"Anytime that you're in overtime, you can pick out 50 things during the course of the game that would have enabled you to win it," said Knight, who spent a little more than three minutes addressing reporters after the loss.
Red Raiders swingman Martin Zeno was a bright spot in the loss with 21 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double in four games. He's averaging 19.7 points and 9.0 rebounds over his last three outings.
Texas Tech also has had problems defending the 3-point arc over the last five games, allowing opponents to shoot nearly 42 percent.
That's a bad sign for the Red Raiders since they will be facing Aggies guard Josh Carter, who is one of the best 3-point shooters in the country at a Big 12-leading 51.6 percent.
Carter enters after his best shooting game in conference play as he made 8-of-11 3-pointers and matched a season high with 26 points in a 66-55 victory at Nebraska on Saturday. He got going early with four 3-pointers in the first eight minutes.
"I can tell when I'm feeling it," Carter said. "Today at the shootaround I was shooting it pretty good, and they told me this is a shooter's gym. When I make a few early, I get a lot of confidence, so I just keep shooting."
Carter's worst game of the season came against Texas Tech when he fouled out in 30 minutes after missing all four shots and failing to score for the only time this season.
Aggies leading scorer Acie Law was held to nine points Saturday after averaging 19.9 in his previous 10 games. Law scored a season-high 26 points in the loss to the Red Raiders.
Texas A&M has won both home meetings against Texas Tech since Gillispie took over two seasons ago.
by: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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